Chan was born in a small village in Belgium in 1992. His parents emigrated from Hong Kong in the 80’s seeking a new life in Belgium. The crowded life in one of the most dense cities on the planet had got to them and so they found a place in Europe where they felt they belonged. Chan couldn’t be happier when he sees them at home sitting in the garden looking at their golden retriever playing in the grass.
On the other hand is he the first generation born in Belgium, from a family that emigrated here, and he has had to deal with the duality of a mixed European, Chinese background. Growing up in these two very different cultures always made him wonder what life could have looked like if he weren’t born here. He first went to Hong Kong, where he found himself being an outsider, unable to relate to that side of his heritage. Then somehow he landed in Future Ark, a new city without any background, yet with a story that needs filled in.
His interest in this place started with the name itself, perceiving within it the ark’s mission to offer refuge to the creatures of the world and the figurative meaning behind an “ark” that affords protection or safety. The name encapsulates the lofty ambitions of the city “Future Ark” and perhaps even the arrogance of the state which can conceive and deliver it.
The series “FUTURE ARK” explores the landscape of a brand new city, an upcoming metropolis of large mixed-use residential and commercial developments, which will become a fully self-sustaining community home to half a million residents.
Bianca Bosker, the author of Original Copies, a book on China’s Western-themed architecture stated:
“China actually has a tradition of architectural mimicry that goes back over two thousand years. In the third century B.C. emperors celebrated the defeat of rival kingdoms by building replicas of their palaces in his own capital city. That past is key for understanding the present.”
As he looked with a neutral gaze, through the viewfinder, he felt parallels between China’s seeming willingness to absorb different cultures in the creation of a modern identity and the inherent tensions of his dual background.
Keep nature here, 2017
Type of players, 2018 (Inkjet print, dibond, 170×100 cm)
Bamboo Ark, 2018 (Inkjet print, dibond, 170×100 cm)
Cleaners, 2018 (Inkjet print, dibond, 100×66 cm)
Into the city, 2018 (UV print, textile wallpaper, 250×166 cm)
Yanzi Park, 2019 (UV print, textile wallpaper, 250×166 cm)
Stores, 2019 (UV print, textile wallpaper, 250×166 cm)
World Trade Center 1, 2018
Sideway, 2019 (UV print, textile wallpaper, 250×166 cm)